As the FBI, MI5 and Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism teams along with other intelligence agencies scramble to find the identity of the IS jihadi who beheaded James Foley, a former hostage who was held in Raqqa, Syria for a year identified the English-speaking militant as the leader of a group who guards foreign nationals held in the country.
The former hostage told The Guardian today that the man acted as the lead in hostage negotiations that led to his release. He told the newspaper that the three UK-born militants were referred to as “the Beatles” by fellow hostages because of their nationality. Granted the Beatles were the “fab four” and when they were three it was following the death of John Lennon and the hostages referred to the intelligent and educated executioner was called “John.”
Those supposed negotiations led to the release of eleven hostages to Turkey when demands were met. It’s believed that their are nearly 500 Brits fighting in Syria and Iraq along with around 700 French nationals and nearly 500 Belgium-born fighters.
Linguists put Foley executioner “John” from London’s East End
John claimed to be from “London” according to the Guardian’s source and linguists and forensic phonetics experts seem to agree.
Prof Paul Kerswill, a linguistics expert at the University of York, said the man [in his opinion] spoke in “multicultural London English” most commonly found in London’s East End. “He probably has a foreign language background but it sounds like multicultural London English, which is people from all kinds of backgrounds who mix in the East End, a new kind of cockney,” he said.
Another expert was less specific but largely agreed. Dr Claire Hardaker, a linguistics experts at Lancaster University, told the Guardian that his vowels mostly likely put him from London but added, “We’re definitely looking at a British accent, from the south, and probably from London, Kent or Essex.”
Prof Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, at King’s College London, believes that using an English speaker was deliberate and done to instill the most fear in the West.
“This is significant because it signifies a turn towards threatening the west. They are saying we’re going to come after you if you bomb us.”
John Kerry vows retribution
Something that U.S. Secretary of State vowed to do today despite the fact that IS promised to kill Steven Sotloff, another American journalist believed to be held by the group if the bombing continued.
In no uncertain terms and hardly terms spoken by a diplomat, Kerry said, “The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil. ISIL and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed, and those responsible for this heinous, vicious atrocity will be held accountable.”
This before tweeting, “ISIL must be destroyed/will be crushed.”